Event to recognize teachers, showcase students

DANVILLE – The Danville Public School Foundation will recognize four outstanding teachers and showcase student musical ability at its annual "An Evening of Singing and Dancing" event.

Uni students working to solve pollution problems in Belize

URBANA – Members of the Inventors Club at University Laboratory High School are a high-spirited bunch.

They crack jokes, nibble snacks and discuss how best to invent a device that will help reduce pollution coming from shrimp farms in Belize.

Uni's Inventors Club was awarded a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Grant of about $7,000 to develop the creation, and the group will present its findings in June at Lemelson-MIT's EurekaFest in Boston.

Male town hall set for Monday

CHAMPAIGN – Local men, young and old, are invited to participate in a town hall meeting "for males and about males" in Champaign.

The meeting, organized by the local Peer Ambassadors, is set for 6 p.m. Monday at the Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St., in the Robeson Pavilion.

Peer Ambassadors is an outreach program through the Champaign County Mental Health Center, for African-American youths ages 15 through 20 who reach out to their peers for education, peer counseling and leadership.

Talk focuses on Internet safety, dangers of 'sexting'

OAKWOOD – Oakwood Junior High School eighth-graders Abbie Knight and Amelia Burke thought they were being pretty safe when it came to using social networking sites.

But what the teens learned on Thursday has them rethinking the type and amount of personal information they'll share online.

"People have all kind of things on their MySpace page," said Abbie, who at 13 has been on the site for two years. "They probably don't even think about who could be seeing it."

Two area districts on financial watch list

Two area districts have the unpleasant distinction of being on the state's financial watch list.

Bement Unit School District 5 and Mattoon Unit School District 2 are in the 3 percent of districts that have negative account balances or other financial problems, according to the Illinois State Board of Education's annual report.

In the annual financial profile of the state's public schools, nearly 70 percent of school districts were in the highest of five categories. The highest score is 4.0; the 39 watch list schools scored from 2.5 to 0.0

Protesters march for Danville teachers

DANVILLE – Though Danville school officials handed out pink slips to 85 employees earlier this month, teachers' union representatives said they hope the two sides will continue working to find a way to bring some of those people back.

"That's affecting our direct line to students," Danville Education Association President Robin Twidwell said. "This will impact student achievement from the (pre-kindergarten) program all the way up to the high school. And it will have an impact for many, many years to come."

In-district tuition to see a $10-per-hour increase at DACC

Officials believe the state funding situation will worsen further

DANVILLE – Students will have to dig deeper in their pockets to attend Danville Area Community College.

Trustees on Tuesday approved raising in-district and out-of-district tuition, saying the increases are needed to ensure the college can continue to provide the level of programs and services that students and the community expect.

"We have to do what's necessary for the school, and we need to plan for the future very prudently," Trustee Ronald Serfoss said.

Urbana library to host fairy-tale ball

URBANA – People young and old dressed in ball gowns or armor and children dressed as their favorite fairy tale characters will again gather for a ball in Urbana.

Hosted for the third year by the Urbana Free Library, the Fairy Tale Ball is set for 6 to 9 p.m. April 9 at the library.

Kathy Wicks, associate director of the library, said more than 1,000 people have attended the event each of the first two years.

"Last year, we had more than 1,200 people over three hours," Wicks said.

Shorter kindergarten day no longer being considered in Tuscola

TUSCOLA – Parents' voices were heard loud and clear, and a proposal to cut full-day kindergarten to a half day is off the table, according to Tuscola school officials.

But the state's budget meltdown is forcing the district to save money somewhere, and positions are being eliminated.

Tuscola school Superintendent Joe Burgess said the state currently owes the district $525,000 in state aid and grants.

Central, Urbana alumni to be honored

The Champaign-Urbana Schools Foundation will celebrate the accomplishments of two alumni at its sixth Annual Distinguished Alumni Luncheon on April 30.

The luncheon honors Scott Anderson, Champaign Central High School Class of 1977, and Stephen Van Arsdell, Urbana High School Class of 1968.

Roxann Bossenbroek of the foundation called both men "very accomplished."

The foundation noted that "Anderson's commitment to Champaign's public schools and his pro-bono dental work in the community and volunteer work in Malawi is impressive.